It is show time tomorrow in the Washington DC metropolitan region as the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in partnership with its Goodwill Ambassador, Abel ‘The Weeknd’ Tesfaye, are launching the XO Humanitarian Fund, administered by World Food Program USA.
The Weeknd, a multi-platinum-certified global star has made an initial donation of US$500,000 to the fund. In addition to help launch the fund, The Weeknd is contributing US$1 from each ticket sold in North America for his highly-anticipated ‘After-Hours Til Dawn Stadium Tour’. Recognizing the fund’s lifesaving impact, the World Food Program USA’s board of directors, together with donors, will contribute $1 million.
According to WFP, the money will be used to assist families and communities on the frontlines of hunger.
Barron Segar, president and CEO of WFP USA said, “We are grateful that The Weeknd is on this journey with us to fight global hunger. We cannot allow millions of children, women, men to starve when we have the food and expertise to save them. Inspired by The Weeknd’s generosity and leadership, our Board of Directors and donors are very happy to announce they are donating $1 million to the fund in support of WFP’s efforts in Ethiopia.”
In early 2022, WFP says, the world was facing an unprecedented hunger challenge, as conflict and climate shocks compounded by COVID, and rising costs drove millions of people closer to starvation - threatening to increase migration and instability globally. WFP has a visible presence in Africa and their work has been evident on many levels across the continent.
Meghan Amoroso, WFP USA’s senior director of external affairs, said, "We are really excited to work with The Weeknd and his team to help shine a light on the global hunger crisis and to raise critical funds to help communities worldwide. The Weeknd joined the World Food Program as a Goodwill Ambassador late last year and with that came the opportunity to launch a humanitarian fund which is administered by the World Food Program USA.”
The award-winning Canadian singer, who holds the record for the longest charting single in the U.S was quoted in the WFP USA website as saying, “The UN World Food Programme is doing urgent and important work to change and save lives on a daily basis and I feel passionately about addressing world hunger and helping people in need.”
The Weeknd has been a passionate advocate and generous supporter of humanitarian causes throughout his career, donating more than US$3 million to various organizations in the past year alone. Most recently, he gifted US$1 million to WFP’s relief efforts in Ethiopia following months of deadly violence.
As the son of Ethiopian immigrants to Canada, the conflict deeply affected him, he has said, and ultimately this moved him to deepen his relationship with WFP.
“Our partnership is an authentic extension of all our efforts and intentions to help those in need and bring an end to so much suffering,” said The Weeknd.
David Beasley, WFP executive director said: “We are thrilled to welcome The Weeknd to the WFP family. His compassion and commitment to helping the world’s hungriest people is truly inspirational.”
Beasley added: “Every night, 811 million people go to bed hungry, and another 270 million are marching toward starvation. This is just not right and we have got to speak out and act today to save lives. We need everyone to come join our movement to end hunger – it is all-hands on deck to avoid a global catastrophe.”
The Weeknd, known for hits such as ‘Starboy’ and ‘Take My Breath’, joins an international roster of ambassadors including Kate Hudson and Michael Kors, who lend their voices to support WFP’s mission to end hunger. The organization provides lifesaving food assistance to more than 100 million people in 80 countries.
WFP USA chief Barron Segar said: “Whether he is performing or speaking out about global hunger, The Weeknd’s voice is powerful and inspiring, only matched by his dedication to helping people around the globe. We are honoured that he has joined our mission. He will undoubtedly inspire the next generation of humanitarians in the fight to ensure no man, woman or child goes to bed hungry.”
WFP USA said via a press release: “The continuous record-breaking of charts, sales and streams, headlining the biggest festivals and stadiums in the world including this year’s Super Bowl, and his ever-mysterious public persona, have combined to establish The Weeknd as one of the most compelling and significant artists of the 21st century.”